Blackhawk votes to revoke teacher contract; union calls move illegal

Union calls move illegal, vows to appeal to labor board

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The Blackhawk school board voted Friday night to revoke its contract with the teachers union -- a move the Pennsylvania State Education Association says is illegal and will be taken up with the state Labor Relations Board.

The collective bargaining agreement for July, 1 2014, through June 30, 2018, was ratified 7-2 in September. New board members filled four seats in December.

The board stated Friday night in a resolution that it "believes that the purported contract approval made [...] was contrary to applicable Pennsylvania law, and is therefore invalid." Members voted 6-2 to revoke the approval and vacate the previous board's action.

"It is illegal to rescind a contract," said Kelly Compeau, representing the PSEA.

Acting superintendent Michael Thomas said after the meeting that he does not believe the action will affect teachers' commitment to their work.

About 130 people attended the 5:30 p.m. special meeting in the high school library. It was preceded by an executive session.

The school board's next meeting is 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

"Any school board members who vote to renege on this contract are voting to violate the law, specifically the Public Employee Relations Act," Mr. Compeau said to the board. "They are also voting to break the word of the Blackhawk School District, and they are doing so with the full knowledge that not only is this in vain, but the subsequent legal proceedings will prove to be a fool's errand."

Mr. Compeau said the state labor board would be contacted within a week, and it could take several months to reach a resolution.

"Blackhawk Education Association and the PSEA will fight as long as needed until the law is upheld," union president and English teacher Jarrod McCowin said.

Lexi Belculfine:, 412-263-1878 or Twitter: @LexiBelc.

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